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Fishing For Litter – Isle of Man 27 July 2007

The Department of Local Government and the Environment has teamed up with several public and private sector organisations to provide Fishing for Litter facilities for the fishermen of the Island.

Fishing for Litter is an initiative whereby fishermen are encouraged to bring ashore debris that has been caught up in their nets during fishing activities. They can then dispose of it on land rather than returning it to the sea where it would cause further problems.

The project provides fishermen with bags so that marine litter can be easily collected, landed and deposited in lockable bins located at participating harbours: Douglas, Peel, Ramsey and Port Erin.

John Shimmin, Minister for Local Government and the Environment, said,

“The main aim of the initiative is to improve the quality of the marine environment around the Isle of Man and reduce the quantity of litter found along the coastline and we hope by our example other Irish sea ports will join in. There is, of course, a direct benefit to the fishermen themselves in that there will be less litter to foul their nets and propellers”.

Kristian Cowin, Project Coordinator, stated that,

“The waste that comes ashore as a result of the project will be monitored to attempt to identify the main types and sources of the litter so that we can better develop strategies to combat this problem”.

During the first year of the Dutch ‘Fishing for Litter’ project over 120 tonnes of litter was collected. Their aim is to collect 500 tonnes of litter in 3 years. By the end of the three-year Save the North Sea (SNS) project, 54 boats were involved in the ‘Fishing for Litter’ scheme, in 4 countries and 450 tonnes of litter had been collected. The ‘Fishing for Litter’ project in Scotland has now been extended to 12 harbours around the country with nearly 100 participating boats.

The project is being run by the Department of Local Government and the Environment, in conjunction with KIMO International, the Manx Fish Producers Organisation Limited and the Department of Transport. Funding for the project is being provided by the Department and SITA Isle of Man. KIMO (Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation) is an association of coastal Local Authorities whose goal is to eliminate pollution in the Northern Seas. The organisation’s members include 128 Local Authorities, representing over 6 million inhabitants in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man.

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